5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

Cristina Cross
September 15, 2018

In the port city of Wilmington, residents awoke to the sound of power transformers blowing up, plunging homes into darkness as Hurricane Florence's howling winds whipped through the streets sending metal signs, water and debris flying.

Daniels said there are no reports of injuries at this time and recommends people get out if they're able to safely do so but warned against driving in standing water.

One man was rescued from the Mercer Avenue home, according to Wilmington Fire Department Chief Buddy Martinette.

Hurricane Florence rolled ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, killing at least four people and trapping hundreds more in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland have declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

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The airport said all passengers should check with their airline before coming to the airport. The risky storm surge caused damage and flooding.

Parts of the Carolinas are expected to see 20 to 30 inches of rain over the next seven days. "The infrastructure is going to break".

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people, and Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer that about 200 had been rescued by 5 a.m. Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and social media.

In the neighbourhood where the mother and child died, resident Frank Hendrickson pointed to a tree that fell next door to him but spared a neighbour's house.

The region is being pounded with rain from the slow-moving storm, causing the risk of catastrophic flooding.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge north of Wilmington in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 1.92 metres of inundation.

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"We're a resilient community, we work well together, we'll get through this", Outlaw said.

"We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said.

He said the strongest of Florence's winds have likely passed, but that the storm's worst effects had just begun Friday. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water". The fear is that during that slow march west, it'll drop torrential rains, flooding low-lying areas and overwhelming rivers.

Isolated tornadoes will be possible in the northern Midlands and Pee Dee area, which are expected to get between 8-15 inches of rain, according to NWS Columbia. Wilmington's previous three-day record total was 19.66 inches recorded in 2010. NWS forecasts that the river will rise about 3 feet higher than it did following hurricanes Matthew and Floyd. Forecasters predict it will make landfall between Thursday and Friday.

Director Tom Collins says the woman in Hampstead had a heart attack Friday morning, but emergency crews could not get to her because of downed trees in the road.

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